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(en) Poland, INICJATYWA PRACOWNICZA - WORKERS' INITIATIVE: Croatia: strike of the shipyard workers of the group of Ulyanik [machine translation]

Date Fri, 9 Nov 2018 07:37:49 +0200

Solidarity action with a strike of Croatian shipbuilders - the Warsaw Environmental Commission of the OZZ IP with plates with the slogan "support for the striking workers of Uljanik and May 3" ---- On Monday, October 22, the strike of the employees of the shipyard "Ulyanik" in Pula and "3. May "in Rijeka (region of Istria). Both shipyards belong to the group of Ulyanik and employ a total of about 4,500 employees. Some employees of cooperating companies also joined the strike. ---- The strikers are demanding payment of salary for September, cancellations of the board and launching a government aid program for the shipbuilding industry, as well as the introduction of crew representatives to the supervisory board. ---- This is another strike by Croatian shipbuilders this year. After the first case of non-payment of salaries in January, there was a several-hour, spontaneous protest. On August 22, trade unions began a strike that lasted 10 days and was one of the largest workers' protests in the history of both cities; during the strike there were street demonstrations (in both cities and under the seat of the government in Zagreb), the largest of which were about 5,000. participants. As a result of the August strike, salaries were paid for July and August, but the next month the situation repeated itself, and both shipyards are in danger of bankruptcy.

The privatization of the yard was a condition for Croatia's entry into the EU in 2013. Currently, approx. Half of the shares in the group of Ulyanik have banks and pension funds, and 46% of shares are held by current and former employees, including people in managerial positions; actual workers hold about 28% of shares, which does not give them a real impact on the management of the company. Employees accuse the management and politicians (both from the ruling region of the IDS and from the government) of acting to the detriment of the group. They believe that the government is trying to liquidate the shipyard to build tourist facilities or luxury housing estates. The government explains the lack of help to the shipyards with EU state aid rules and offers solutions for finding "strategic investors" for both plants, which, however, according to employees,

There are three trade unions in both shipyards, generally negatively evaluated by employees, in part the exception is Jadranski Sindikat in the shipyard in Pula, who is the only one who consults the crew (though some are also accused of insufficient radicalism), and informal cooperation with him. Stožer employee group for obran brodogradnje Uljanik (SZOBU - Ship Defense Center of Uljanik). The shipyard workers received numerous expressions of support from trade unions and left-wing organizations from Croatia and other countries of the region, and the August strike caused a nationwide public discussion on the future of the economy.

The bankruptcy of the shipyard would mean an increase in unemployment (including 10,000 jobs at risk), but also almost complete deindustrialization of the region and basing its economy on services and tourism, characterized by very low wages and precarious work conditions. Stoczniowcy emphasize that they are struggling both to pay overdue salaries and to save their plants.

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